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Poll: Does the content of the translations change you in any way?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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SITE STAFF
Dec 10, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Does the content of the translations change you in any way?".

This poll was originally submitted by Astrid Elke Johnson

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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William [Bill] Gray  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 06:00
Member (2006)
English
+ ...
Just recently it has...! Dec 10, 2006

If you had asked me this about four months ago, I would have happily answered "NO!". But recently I translated a commentary text for a new War Memorial Museum in a former Nazi concentration camp in Norway.

That work changed me! My client asked me when I delivered the text if it had been difficult; I replied, "No, not linguistically. But emotionally, it affected me very deeply."

Good question for the poll, Astrid.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
Before I take part in this poll... Dec 10, 2006

...I need to understand what it means!

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
What is meant by the question Dec 10, 2006

Hi Nesrin,

To give you an example of what is meant, I find that many translations that I do inform me on topics - perhaps political or economic topics - that I did not know anything about before, and that are truly an eye-opener for me. They expose me to what is going on in the world.

Recently, for example, I have done a translation about business, concerning why German companies decide to open factories in Eastern Europe, and explaining all their reasons, and what they achieve by it, in great detail. That truly made me think. I also recall an alarming translation I did, sometime in the past year, about the transportation of nuclear power on lorries.

However, the content of translations, being very regularly about current affairs, but often providing a deeper insight into the subject than the news does, very often has a profound effect on me, and changes some small part of me permanently.

Astrid


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
Thanks, Astrid! Affected me, definitely... Dec 10, 2006

... but I wouldn't go so far as to say they changed me.

One particular job I've done - a series of reports on mental patients - was so emotionally draining, that I had to pull out of the job after a few reports. I started to feel so involved, and dread the contents of the next report.

Another job that affected me in a positive way was an in-depth Greenpeace report, which made me more aware of what's going on around me, and more interested in the environment.


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:00
English to Polish
+ ...
Not yet Dec 10, 2006

Some time ago I had a translation on poultry farm welfare. If I hadn't been a vegetarian for 13 years, I'd become one since doing that job.

So it didn't change me, but reassured me I'd chosen right way of living

Anni

[Edited at 2006-12-10 21:55]


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
Italian to English
+ ...
..yes, definitely Dec 10, 2006

...but perhaps sometimes ignorance is bliss. Since becoming a translator I have become a complete cynic. I recently translated a set of pleadings for a large tobacco multinational ... when you realise how much the government has to gain from people smoking themselves to death, it is truly sickening.

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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:00
English to Spanish
Sometimes Dec 10, 2006

My first large job was the translation of a phase IV clinical trial (post-marketing experiences) of a drug I had been taking for quite some time...

Need I say more?


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 05:00
history & medicine Dec 11, 2006

I translate a lot of medical reports and in some cases, the patient dies. Reading about the manner of their death can be quite sad.

I also worked on a WW2 historical project for about two years. I had to translate warrants and letters with various Nazi stamps on them, signed off with "Heil Hitler". I found it a bit hard to deal with.
After a while, I became more detached and got on with the job. I am a massive history nut anyway, so I learned a lot about WW2 and absorbed plenty of source material.


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Wil Hardman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never changes you- I don't think so... Dec 11, 2006

Surely the content doesn't have to be emotional to change you. Any piece of information, especially one that you read and process, will have some impact on you as a person. I always learn something when translating, however bizarre or uninteresting. To say that the content of a translation never changes you is simply untrue. I often worry, when doing a particularly boring translation, that my personality is being drained away!

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Giovany Rodríguez Monsalve
Colombia
Local time: 00:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
No yet. Dec 11, 2006

So far so good.

Once I feel so interested in a translation about a famous park in Scotland, it was really interesting because I saw a different culture on it.


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Marcin Wierzbicki  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:00
English to Polish
+ ...
yes, but... Dec 11, 2006

Affected me, definitely...
... but I wouldn't go so far as to say they changed me.

I always learn something when translating

true, true...
but change - I don't think so.


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sylvie malich
Germany
Local time: 06:00
German to English
Influences decisions, yes Dec 11, 2006

For instance, in 1997-2000 I was working on a long-term job on finance and the economy. It finalized my decision to buy a condominium and invest.

Two years ago through an agency I translated a series of jobs for a hotel chain and booked a vacation with them.

Oh yeah, I worked on a book for an industrial sewing Group and, yup, then bought a sewing machine but (darn) still haven't gotten around to using it.

Remember the World Cup? A series of articles before and during had me, a total never-before-interested-in-organized sports person, watching the WM on German television this summer.

I step up my fitness activities when I get an article to translate from a direct customer who runs a chain of fitness studios.

And the olive oil soaps and skin care products company? Yup, now I have a bathroom full of olive oil products.

sylvie

[Edited at 2006-12-11 12:10]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Dec 11, 2006

I specialise in Anthropology, which often deals with religion and spiritual beliefs. Apart from the occasional profound insight, I find a continuous intellectual dialogue in my work that I profit from as a researcher.

Also, working with government clients keeps me continually in touch with political issues that people are often highly emotional about. This has made me very sensitive to the ideological colour of language and to my mind underscores the importance of one's own objectivity in approaching one's work.


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Mrs.Rouyer
France
Local time: 06:00
English to German
+ ...
One Time... Dec 11, 2006

I translated a manual about hand hygiene for the prevention of flues and since then I wash my hands upside-down and between the fingers a few times a day...

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